Twelve payloads launched by the penultimate Vega

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Every weekend, an image that made the news or caught our attention. On October 9, the European light launcher carried out its 23rd mission from the Guiana Space Center.

Twelve payloads on board

After a one-day postponement following an anomaly in the ground installations, the mission VV23 of Vega launched on October 9 at 1:36 a.m. UTC from the Guiana Space Centerfor a fifth shared mission SSMS (Small Satellites Mission Service) proposed by Arianespace on its light launcher since September 2020.

The two main payloads on board were the Earth observation satellite Theos 2 (450 kg), built by Airbus Defense and Space on behalf of the Thai Geoinformatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), and the meteorology satellite Triton (280 kg) of the Taiwan Space Agency (TASA).

Among the ten cubesats also present were the French demonstrator N3SS (Nanosat 3U for Spectrum Monitoring), developed by the Cnes and the Toulouse startup U-Space.

Furthermore, several missions were supported by the European Commission : Anser Leader, Anser Follower 1 and Anser Follower 1 (Spanish cubesats), CSC/Syndeo 1 and 2 (Dutch cubesats) and EstCube 2 (Estonian student cubesats).

Rated flight

The flight of the first three stages of the launcher built by Avio lasted a little over 6 minutes.

The upper floor Avum then lit up twice, before simultaneously injecting the two main satellites, at an altitude of 601 km.

The ten cubesats separated from the SSMS dispenser after two more stage ignitions, 43 minutes and 58 seconds after liftoff

A fifth and final Avum ignition finally allowed the stage to be deorbited.

Last European launch of the year

The VV23 mission marked Vega’s return to flight after the failure of the first commercial mission of version C, in December 2022.

VV23 was the third and final Arianespace mission carried out in 2023, after flights VA 260 and 261 ofAriane 5April 14 and July 5, the latter marking the definitive shutdown of the heavy launcher.

It was also the penultimate flight of the first version of Vega, which entered service in February 2012.

A final flight is now expected next April (with the Earth observation satellite Biomass of the’European Space Agency), before definitively giving way to Vega Cwhose next flight will not take place before the fourth quarter.

John Walker Avatar